Leader Biographies

The Huron Fringe Birding Festival attracts top leaders in the birding and natural history communities. From our own Bruce and Grey county experts to Ontario's foremost naturalists, we have a wonderful roster of leaders on a range of event topics.

Each of our leaders is selected for his or her skills leading birding hikes, workshops and presentations, photography sessions, wildflower walks or archaeology outings.

Click on each name to view the Leader Biography.  You can also access the biographies during the registration process.


  • Abby Collins

    Abby has had a keen interest in birds her whole life, having attended the Huron Fringe Birding Festival from a young age. Her love of warblers was sparked by countless American Redstarts arriving in MacGregor every spring. Originally from the Bruce, she now resides in Perth County. 

    Abby is a primary atlasser in the third Ontario Breeding Bird Atlas. She enjoys contributing to citizen science projects such as Christmas bird counts, along with being a member of several local birding & naturalist clubs. She’s a graduate of the Ontario Master Naturalist Program from Lakehead University. You can be sure her binoculars are never far from reach.

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  • Alessandra Wilcox

    Originally from the Halton region, Alessandra is an avid birder who has been banding for the past 8 years. Having been guided by experts at observatories such as Haldimand, Pelee Island, Longpoint, and Hilliardton, her main goal is to continue to help conserve wildlife and educate others to do the same. She is a recent BSc.  graduate, having studied at the University of Guelph. Now that she is free, her goal is to continue to travel the world; she supposed the Bruce Peninsula is a good place to start. 

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  • Arni Stinnissen


    Arni is a life-long naturalist and conservationist and has recently relocated to the Bruce Peninsula from Orillia where he was the Vice-president of the Orillia Naturalists’ club. He currently volunteers for the Bruce Peninsula Bird Observatory, Bruce Peninsula Biosphere Association and Bruce Peninsula National Park. Arni is proud to have had his images published in conservation-themed, international journals including the prestigious Birdlife Australia, Wild Seed Project in Maine, National Audubon Society and Canadian Geographic.

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  • Barbara Palmer

    Barbara Palmer is a former teacher who hails from Grey County. Hiking the Bruce Trail on a school trip as a child opened her eyes to the natural beauty of her own backyard. This in turn, lead her to be curious about the flora encountered, especially wildflowers, and later ferns. She continues to enjoy hiking, and is fortunate to spend time on the Saugeen Bruce Peninsula. She is a long time member of the Owen Sound Field Naturalists (OSFN) and sits on their Publications Committee. Her extensive knowledge of local botany has been an asset during the revision of Orchids Bruce & Grey and the current updating of Ferns Bruce & Grey. 

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  • Beth Gilhespy

    Beth Gilhespy has been a conservation professional for over 30 years.  In March 2024 she joined the Escarpment Biosphere Conservancy, a growing Ontario-based land trust, as its CEO. Between June 2019 and March 2014 was Executive Director of the Toronto Zoo Wildlife Conservancy, which secures funds for Toronto Zoo endangered species conservation programs. Between 2004 and 2018 Beth was Chief Executive Officer of the Bruce Trail Conservancy, where she oversaw the preservation of more than 6,500 acres of land along the Niagara Escarpment. Beth also served on the Niagara Escarpment Commission from 2017 to 2019. Prior to her work at the Bruce Trail Conservancy, Beth worked for 15 years as a consultant specializing in the environmental impact of toxic chemicals. She holds a Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees in physical geography and geology from the University of Guelph. She is an avid hiker, traveler, fossil collector and self-professed landscape fanatic, and when not out exploring the land, is currently writing her second book on the geology of the Niagara Escarpment along the Bruce Trail.

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  • Bill Crins


    Bill Crins is a talented ecologist with particular expertise in birds, grasses, sedges and wildflowers.  He started his career as an interpretative naturalist at Algonquin Park.  He was a senior ecologist with Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources prior to his retirement.  More recently he has continued to share his expertise as a lecturer at University of Toronto - Scarborough.  He has recently coauthored a book on Flowerflies.  He volunteers with Kawartha Land Trust and the Peterborough Rotary.  He was involved in the description of a new sedge with 3 other researchers, which they named the Juniper Sedge. Bill enjoys spending time outside: hiking, birding, botanizing, photographing, and viewing all elements of biodiversity with his daughter, Emma and partner, Natasha.  His other, non-outdoors hobbies include stamp collecting, curling, listening to folk and classical music, and watching soccer.

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  • Bluewater Astronomical Society

    The Bluewater Astronomical Society promotes astronomy education in the Bluewater counties of Bruce and Grey. Their organization holds star gazing sessions, lectures and astronomy events for students and the general public. They have a large, modern observatory, the ES Fox Observatory, on the grounds of the Bluewater Outdoor Education Centre which is now Canada's 15th Dark Sky Preserve. There they show, to young and old alike, views of the moon, planets, star clusters, galaxies and nebulae. Their Dark Sky Preserve provides heavenly views under one of the best star gazing sites in Ontario. You will be amazed! 

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  • Dale Wenger


    Dale is an avid birder and outdoor enthusiast who spends much of his time in outdoor spaces indulging in his passion for birds. Over the past few years, Dale has enjoyed guiding in places such as Point Pelee National Park and Algonquin Provincial Park, as well as The District of Muskoka. 

    Dale's goal is to share his passion for birds and all things nature with people. Both to educate and inspire. He believes that birds connect us all. No borders, no fences - anywhere you are, you can watch birds. 

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  • David Turner

    David has been birding since he was a young lad growing up in the English countryside. His interest continued after his move to Canada in his late teens and was strongly reignited again after time spent in Central America.  Currently, David is a popular leader for the Owen Sound Field Naturalists, and with local birders, with a focus on the Beaver Valley. During the pandemic he started up a ‘Birding Beaver Valley’ Facebook group for ‘a few people who might be interested’ and it has grown into hundreds of members.  He co-established and guides for the ‘Boots, Birds and Breakfast’ birding and nature tour company in the Beaver Valley. 

    David is also a lifetime botany enthusiast, professional gardener and plant health care specialist.  

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  • Dennis Lewington
    Dennis & Gwen Lewington

    Dennis, with his late wife Gwen, have enjoyed the Bruce Peninsula for over 50 years. They started bird watching in 1982 when a Pileated Woodpecker landed on a maple tree in front of their cottage and out of curiosity, purchased a field guide. They were hooked!

    They were encouraged by Martin Parker to participate in the first Bird Atlassing Project and subsequently volunteered again from 2001 - 2005. Martin was Dennis' mentor and provided him with four bluebird nesting boxes to put up on the Bruce. These first Eastern Bluebird nests were located at Silver Creek Cemetery in 1982. Since then they have fledged almost 3,000 Eastern Bluebirds.

    Dennis continues to check 100 bluebird boxes each breeding season. These boxes have also had good success with Tree Swallows, House Wrens and Black-capped Chickadees.

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  • Doug Pedwell


    Since retiring from teaching, Doug has been able to indulge his lifelong passions of nature study, photography and travel. He can often be found wandering the back roads of Bruce and Grey counties in search of flora, fauna and landforms to photograph. Doug is a member of the Bruce Birding Club, the Saugeen Shores Camera Club and a past-president of the Friends of MacGregor Point Park.  A newer passion is spending time teaching his granddaughter all about nature.

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  • Erik Van Den Kieboom
    Erik Van Den Kieboom

    Erik is an 18 year old birder from Grey County. He's been birding since a very young age; having had the great fortune of growing up in the countryside among a diverse array of birds to fuel his passion. He enjoys watching birds as well as studying them.  Erik has banded birds at both Long Point Bird Observatory (Old Cut Research Station) and Cabot Head Bird Observatory as a volunteer.  Erik has been the Owen Sound Christmas Bird Count Compiler for several years and is a hike leader for the Owen Sound Field Naturalists and the Bruce Birding Club. His favourite aspect of being a birder is sharing his passion with others, which is why he enjoys leading birding hikes so much.

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  • Esme Batten

    Esme has always been fascinated by the natural world and entered the world of ecology through a love of birds during her environmental science degree. Eight years ago she moved to the Saugeen Peninsula to work as a biologist for the Chippewas of Nawash Unceded First Nations Species at Risk Program and fell in love with the landscapes, species, and people of the Peninsula. Since then, she has dedicated her personal and professional life to protecting this landscape and the species that call it home. Currently, Esme works as Program Director of Midwestern Ontario for the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) based out of Dyers Bay and leads NCC’s conservation work on the Saugeen Peninsula and other landscapes across Midwestern Ontario. A few years ago Esme developed a passion for astrophotography and landscape photography and loves to share the beauty of the natural world through her images and hopes to inspire others to protect our natural spaces while we can.

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  • Fred Jazvac

    Fred Jazvac is a veteran member of the Huron Fringe Birding Festival planning committee, a member and a past-president of the Owen Sound Field Naturalists and the organizer of the Bruce Birding Club. He has given workshops on a variety of topics both at the festival and for other naturalist groups. 

    He is a retired teacher, football and basketball coach having worked with the Hamilton Board of Education. In fact, Fred was inducted into the Hamilton Sports Hall of Fame along with his team, the Hamilton Hurricanes who won a Canadian Championship in 1972. 

    He is also a natural coach, encourager and leader in birding.

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  • Ian Shanahan

    Ian Shanahan was exposed to the natural world from the very beginning alongside his father Don. The moment that truly hooked him, however, came at age 12 when a Peregrine Falcon whizzed by him and his dad at top speed on the beach at Presqu’ile Provincial Park on Lake Ontario. 

    Ian's formal education in the arts and education was interspersed with working as an interpretive naturalist at Presqu’ile and Algonquin Provincial Parks over 13 seasons where his interest in birds spread to other winged creatures and all aspects of the natural world. He also served as Senior Park Naturalist at Algonquin where he coordinated the Park's long-standing education program.

    Ian has led nature tours across southern Ontario, including two annual birding outings with the Ontario Field Ornithologists. He completed a two-year term as the co-editor of OFO's long-standing tri-annual publication OFO News and is now the General Editor of Green Teacher magazine. Previously, Ian led group tours to destinations including the Canadian Arctic, the Bay of Fundy, Hudson Bay, the Prairies, Iceland, the Galápagos Islands, and Costa Rica. He leads tours locally near Presqu'ile Park with Shrew - Connecting People with Nature.

    The spring bird migration through southern Ontario has always been a source of inspiration and wonder, and Ian can't wait to share it with you!

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  • James Turland

    James is a favourite local bird hike leader at MacGregor Point Provincial Park and the Bruce Birding Club.  He brings his unique enthusiasm to bird hikes and easily imparts his wide knowledge to the group.  He will help you understand the importance of birding by ear and habitat requirements.

    James is coordinator of the Kincardine Christmas Bird Count, a primary Atlaser for a number of squares in the Ontario Breeding Bird Atlas and sits on the Grey Bruce Bird Records Committee. He has received the Festival's Norah Toth Award for his involvement with the Bruce Birding Club, his support of citizen science and his commitment to and support of the Festival. 

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  • Jarmo Jalava


    Jarmo Jalava was a keen birder long before he could seriously grow facial hair. His first teenage summer job involved reintroducing endangered Peregrine Falcons to the wilds of Algonquin Park in 1978. Since then, he has devoted his life to advancing the cause of healthy ecosystems with science and creativity, working closely with First Nations, federal and provincial agencies and many NGOs, as well as the private sector.  He currently serves as ecologist/advisor for the Saugeen Ojibway Nation Environment Office and is involved in many other conservation initiatives. Jarmo lives in a 130-year old log home on the beautiful Saugeen Bruce Peninsula, where his backyard visitors include Red-headed Woodpeckers, Eastern Bluebirds, Sandhill Cranes and even the occasional Peregrine Falcon.

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  • Jean Iron
    Jean Iron

    Jean is well known to Ontario birders; she was president of the Ontario Field Ornithologists (OFO) from 1995 - 2004 and edited OFO News for 14 years. Her special interests are shorebirds, grassland birds, gulls and bird identification. Jean loves the Hudson Bay Lowlands of northern Ontario and has spent many summers as a volunteer surveying shorebirds and waterfowl around James and Hudson bays for the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and the Royal Ontario Museum. Jean is a leader for Quest Nature Tours and has visited French Polynesia, Svalbard - Norwegian Arctic, Belize, Guatemala, Galapagos among other exotic locations. 

    In 2016 Jean was named a Distinguished Ornithologist by OFO.

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  • Jenna McGuire
    Jenna McGuire

    Jenna grew up on the north Bruce Peninsula. She left to get a degree in wildlife biology and scientific illustration and returned to work for Parks Canada in Tobermory in ecological research and nature interpretation. Her passion is learning about, teaching and preserving traditional Métis skills and knowledge. Jenna recognizes that Métis art forms capture her people’s history and nature and that traditional art forms such as beading and moccasin making help keep her culture alive. She likes to use her illustration and communication skills to record knowledge and teach others about nature and history. As an artist, it is her wish to create art that simply inspires others and hopefully, captures the Métis spirit.

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  • Jeremy Bensette
    Jeremy Bensette

    Jeremy is a career naturalist, photographer, and tour guide at Point Pelee and across Ontario. He lives in  Leamington, Ontario. He takes part in citizen science and volunteering programs, and is a contract field biologist with Bird Studies Canada. He is member of the Vortex Optics Field Team and an active member in naturalist clubs like Ontario Field Ornithologists and Essex County Field Naturalists, as well as many online naturalist communities.

    For several years, Jeremy held the record for the most bird species spotted in a single year in Ontario! 

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  • John Reaume


    John has an eye for detail and has used it in his hobby of wildlife photography these past 35 years. He started off specializing in bird photography but his interests have broadened and now include the wonders from the world of macrophotography (dragonflies and spiders) to astrophotography (sun and moon to far off nebulas). His photos have graced the covers of a number of magazines and books including Ontario’s second Breeding Bird Atlas. John lives in nearby Grey County and is an active member of the Saugeen Field Naturalists. 

    John is a practicing rural physician in the town of Mount Forest.

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  • Justin Peter

    Justin truly lives "for the birds". In fact, he cannot remember a time when he was not interested in birds and nature more generally. He spent much of his childhood consulting his considerable nature book collection. At age 14, a family friend invited Justin to attend the birding course he was teaching for adults as part of the local school board's continuing education program. Justin soon assumed the role of unofficial assistant in the classroom as well as co-leader and, later, leader of the field excursions. 

    After university studies that saw his interest in nature fall to the wayside, he re-directed his interests to the outdoors, landing work as a seasonal, and then full-time interpretive naturalist at Gatineau Park, a federally-managed park in Quebec near Ottawa. Three years later, he began full-time work as Senior Park Naturalist at Algonquin Park, where he worked for almost 7 years, organizing the park's educational programming based at the Visitor Centre, recruiting and mentoring promising young interpretive naturalists, and assisting with various park management activities. 

    Justin began work with Quest Nature Tours in 2013 as Director of Programs, where he continues to showcase what the world has to offer. On the side, Justin is involved in various bird-related projects and organizations. Most recently, he was named to the Board of Directors of Birds Canada, which is Canada’s premiere bird science and conservation organization. His very favourite thing will always be leading bird walks. He is particularly interested in bird behaviour and vocalizations, and so he enjoys raising others' awareness of these aspects in the field.

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  • Kevin Predon


    Originally from Cayuga, Ontario, Kevin has been working and living in the Bruce-Grey area for the last decade. With almost 25 years of experience in Ontario and Alberta, Kevin has spent a lot of time eating dirt with wet-feet in many different forest types across Canada.

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  • Kiah Jasper

    Kiah is a 21 year old birder who has grown up with the Bruce Peninsula as his backyard. His keen interest in photography sparked his more serious fascination with all things avian. Kiah is the winner of the 2018 Canadian Geographic wildlife  photographer of the year (under 17). He is the Bruce County compiler for the Ontario Breeding Bird Atlas, an eBird reviewer for 3 counties and is an active Bruce County birder. Kiah is on the Board of the Ontario Field Ornithologists and the Ontario Bird Records Committee (OBRC) and is an active member of the Bruce Birding Club. He leads hikes around the county for both organizations. 

    In 2022 Kiah broke the Ontario Big Year record for most birds spotted in a calendar year, with 359 species seen across the province.  An interview on CBC Radio and with the Owen Sound Sun Times were promotional highlights of his Big Year.

    Kiah runs Gyrkite Birding Tours with Alessandra Kite, leading birding outings across the province.


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  • Kyle Horner

    Kyle Horner is a lifelong birder and naturalist with a passion for teaching others about the natural world.  While birds are his first love, he never misses an opportunity to stop and admire a spectacular snake, fascinating frog, beguiling beetle, or any other creature that crosses his path.  He has worked extensively in environmental education and science communication, and especially loves debunking myths, challenging misconceptions, and teaching others about some of the less-appreciated aspects of the natural world.

    Based in Guelph, Kyle is the NatureCounts Engagement Coordinator for Birds Canada and a Tour Leader for Quest Nature Tours.  Kyle recently completed a book on the turtles of North America, to be published in the spring of 2024.

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  • Lynne Richardson


    Lynne started birding as a kid and made up names for birds before she got her first bird book. She has a keen interest in birding for a purpose, so is a citizen scientist project enthusiast. She has participated in Forest Bird and Breeding Bird surveys, the ROM's Nest Records, coordinates a local Christmas Bird Count and sits on the Grey Bruce Records Committee.  

    Lynne has a special interest in breeding bird behaviour and nidiology, sparked during the first and second Breeding Bird Atlases (OBBA). She is currently the OBBA-3 Regional Coordinator for Grey County.  

    Lynne particularly enjoys serving on the Piping Plover recovery project at Sauble Beach and being a member of the Huron Fringe Birding Festival program committee.  

    Lynne worked as an Environmental Planner with the Niagara Escarpment Commission, where she was fortunate to have had many opportunities to explore the beautiful bird and botany-rich Niagara Escarpment throughout Grey Bruce, top to bottom.

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  • Margaret Anderton
    Margaret Anderton


    Margaret sees birding as a social affair - a time for sharing and learning from each other. She enjoys birding in her own backyard and throughout the local countryside. Margaret is a member of the Bruce Birding Club and is their official recorder.  

    As a member of the Chantry Island Marine Heritage Society, she leads boat tours to the island and uses her keen interest in history in giving guided tours of the lighthouse and the historic keeper's cottage. 

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  • Margaret Wysman

    Professional singer-songwriter Margaret Wysman has endeared herself to her audiences for many years. She is equally at home singing in cozy cafes, in concert halls, at the Rogers Centre, for festivals along the Lake Huron shoreline, or among the trees and her fellow nature-lovers for events held in McGregor Park. With three albums to her credit and new songs yet to be recorded, this pop-folk artist tailors her song selection for each venue, weaving wisdom and humour into every one of her heartfelt performances.

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  • Mark Wiercinski

    Mark is one of the original Huron Fringe Birding Festival leaders and has participated every year with the same passion and enthusiasm as he did on his very first hike.....but he does have more gray hair. The early hikes are the best way to find the most birds and it is at this time that Mark is really on his game.....coffee not required, but it helps. Along the way, Mark provides many helpful tips on bird identification through sound, behaviour and habitat. His hikes are always full of information from birds to plant-life to wildlife and everything in between. Whether you're a full fledged birder or just starting out, his hikes will always inspire and entertain....it's all about the sex, baby!

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  • Marshall Byle


    Marshall Byle received his first field guide to the birds when he was just four years old. Today, with over half a century of experience, he still loves to bird and to share the wonder of birds with others. Marshall is a member of the Huron Fringe Field Naturalists. He writes a birding and nature column in the local magazine, Marketplace.

    Marshall is currently on the Board of the Friends of MacGregor Point Park. He has been a leader for the Huron Fringe Birding Festival for many years.  

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  • Michael Runtz

    Michael’s association with Algonquin spans nearly 50 years and includes working in the Park as an interpretive naturalist for 11 seasons.  Michael hosted the international television series Wild by Nature, authored and illustrated 14 natural history books including Algonquin Wild and, his latest, Wildflowers of Algonquin Provincial Park.  Additionally, Michael provided the images for the award-winning children’s book At Home with the Beaver.  In addition, Michael has written more than 1,100 natural history articles for newspapers and magazines (Nature’s Way was nearing its 30th season when Covid-19 cut it short). Michael teaches Natural History and Ornithology courses at Carleton University where more than 52,000 students have taken his courses. His numerous awards include the Council of Canadian University Biology Chairs Distinguished Public Science Education Award, the Friends of Algonquin Directors Award, and several Carleton University Teaching Achievement Awards. A popular keynote speaker and media guest, Michael was the only Canadian featured in the TVO/NHK Japan’s Superteachers series.  

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  • Mike Kent

    Mike was once loaned a pair of binoculars by a former boss and told to look for the birds he could hear. Since then he hasn't looked back, unless it was for a bird. Prior to that, Mike always had his head down, looking for insects, reptiles, amphibians, and fungi. He has sculpted himself into an all-round naturalist and educator in Southwestern Ontario. He has worked as a Park Naturalist at Ontario's Killbear and Algonquin Provincial Parks and as a Tour Manager at the Monteverde Butterfly Gardens in Costa Rica's cloud forests. He is currently an arborist and environmental project coordinator with the City of Sarnia and a Trip Leader for Quest Nature Tours. With Quest, Mike leads hikes during the Festival of Birds every spring at Point Pelee as well as trips to extraordinary international destinations each year.

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  • Miptoon (Anthony Chegahno)

    Miptoon (Anthony Chegahno) is from Neyaashiinigmiing which is also known as Cape Croker, Chippewas of Nawash (Unceded) First Nation. He has a Master's of Theology degree. Since 2007, he has been the Project Manager for the Nawash Species at Risk Inventory and Capacity-building Project, which works to inventory, monitor, conserve, and raise awareness about the remarkable diversity of Species at Risk and their habitats at Cape Croker, the Saugeen Bruce Peninsula, and the traditional territories of the Saugeen Ojibway Nation. He is an organizer of the Cape Croker Christmas Bird Count.

    Miptoon has a deep relationship and vast knowledge of the natural history of Cape Croker and spends as much time as he can enjoying it. 

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  • Nikki May

    Nikki started her avocation as a naturalist in the 1990s, then earned a Master’s degree in Forest Restoration from University of Guelph. While living in Sarnia, she worked for Carolinian Canada for 6 years and was on the boards of Lambton Wildlife Inc. and Tallgrass Ontario. She is a Past-president of Saugeen Nature and is currently a primary Atlaser for the Ontario Breeding Bird Atlas in southwest Grey County.

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  • Paul Riss

    Paul got started birding at a young age. When his dad was looking for a little more of a connection with his son, he took Paul to a local conservation area with some bird seed. That day, a Black-capped Chickadee landed on Paul’s hand and a birding monster was born. He has continued to watch birds since then.

    Paul has become a well-known North American birder, but still only calls himself, “pretty good.” He is a board member of the American Birding Association.  He  starred in the CBC documentary 'Rare Bird Alert'. Everything he does in the birding world is to promote it to a wider audience, change the way people view birding, birders and to promote bird conservation.

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  • Pete Read

    Pete’s interest in nature spawned from summers spent exploring along the Thames River in London, Ontario as a boy. He developed this keen interest in nature in general, and birds in particular, over the years with help from mentors in McIlwraith Field Naturalists. He is self-taught in the identification of birds by sight and sound and has finely tuned his skills since 1969 with annual trips to Point Pelee National Park. He is a life-long educator who loves to work with people of all ages to extol the wonders of avian life, leading many field trips over the years for various nature clubs and organizations. He also takes part in many citizen science projects, predominantly the Ontario Breeding Bird Atlas and Christmas Bird Counts. 

    After retiring from a long teaching career, he has pursued many interests in natural history. He worked with the Wildlife Preservation Trust Shrike program building and installing loggerhead shrike cages for their captive breeding program.  He also became a consultant and field biologist for a number of environmental companies and agencies, working on wildlife projects in Ontario and Quebec. He leads bird hikes every spring at Point Pelee. Currently he is a guide for Quest Nature Tours which allows him to travel the world learning even more about birds and wildlife and imparting knowledge to those who accompany him. He is very pleased to lead trips for the Huron Fringe.

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  • Sarah McComb-Turbitt


    Sarah is a Marine Biologist turned artist, born and returned to Grey Bruce. She is a signature member of Artists for Conservation with a united vision to preserve and sustain our natural heritage. 

    Sarah's breaking new research on penguins was the featured article published in the Marine Ecology Progress Series last November - DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/meps14441 

    Sarah captures her adventures in paint from her studio in Owen Sound. She is a member of Artists for Conservation and has recently supported Wildlife Preservation Canada in a collaboration to bring awareness to Canada's Species at Risk.

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  • Shannon Wood

    Shannon worked for the Saugeen Valley and other Conservation Authorities throughout the province as well as Ministry of Natural Resources/Forestry offices throughout her 34-year career. She has a Bachelor of Science Degree from the University of Windsor and Trent University as well as Forestry and Fish and Wildlife Technician papers from Sir Sandford College in Lindsay. She has always had a keen interest in natural history and spent many years conducting hikes, presentations, seminars, education programs, etc., as part of educational awareness. Shannon has been on numerous environmental committees and groups and continues to educate the public about natural history. 

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  • Stewart Nutt


    A retired educator, Stew has had a long-time interest in natural history, nature photography and a special passion for bird behaviors. When Piping Plovers returned to nest at Sauble Beach in 2007, Stew became the first Coordinator for the Recovery Project. Under his caring watch over several years, Stew developed protocols that ensured the protection of the Piping Plover on the beach. Stew grew the program to over 100 volunteers and inspired many beachgoers to become Plover Lovers. 

    He continues to check on the Piping Plovers each season and sits on an advisory committee for the Piping Plover Committee of Stewardship Grey Bruce (Plover Lovers).

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  • Sue Allison


    Sue graduated from the Ontario College of Art 1971, specializing in Communications and Design with a special interest in fine art.

    As an Exhibit Designer for the Ministry of Natural Resources in the 1970s, Sue began her career working closely with biologists and naturalists. This gave her a deep appreciation for the environment which was demonstrated in the original displays for the Visitor Centre at MacGregor Point Provincial Park.

    Sue has a distinctive style as evidenced in her watercolour, oil and acrylic paintings. Enjoy an exciting informative day with renowned artist Sue. Whether a novice or an advanced artist, this outing will offer a special time full of observation through sketching and applying colour which will lead to journaling nature. 🎨 

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  • Tim Arthur

    Tim has always loved nature and wildlife. Even when working as an audio engineer in the film and television industry his favourite projects were the many award winning nature documentaries he worked on. Tim has spent countless hours birding in Bruce County. When he first started birding he "discovered" several great birding locations. He has worked for Birds Canada since 2017 and now some of his fieldwork locations are the exact spots he "discovered" years earlier.

    In addition to his Birds Canada work, Tim presents to nature clubs about Algonquin Provincial Park, and Nature Photography. He also leads tours for the Point Pelee Festival of Birds, The Huron Fringe Birding Festival, the Ontario Field Ornithologists, as well as some private tours. Tim has recently signed on with Eagle-Eye Tours and looks forward to showing people some amazing wildlife in some stunning locations around the world!

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  • Tyler Miller

    Tyler has spent the entirety of his life interested in the natural environment; this naturalist's curiosity inspired him to pursue a career in ecology. Over the last decade, Tyler has worked as a field ecologist with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry and currently Parks Canada in Tobermory. His passion for studying natural history has recently landed him at Trent University, where he completed an undergraduate degree and thesis focusing on Saugeen (Bruce) Peninsula alvar ecology. Tyler’s career and hobbies have shaped him into a well-rounded naturalist with a formidable expertise in field botany. Currently, Tyler is fulfilling a contract with the Owen Sound Field Naturalists to update the Checklist of Vascular Plants for Bruce and Grey Counties, Ontario.


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  • Willy Waterton


    One of the original Huron Fringe Birding Festival leaders, a self taught photographer, Willy spent 35 years as a full-time photojournalist at The Owen Sound Sun Times. During his tenure as chief photographer, he oversaw the transition from black and white to colour then finally to digital. His newspaper photographs won over 100 provincial and national awards. In 1990, Willy was named Ontario News Photographers’ Association Photographer of the Year. His photography has appeared in national and international magazines, newspapers and books including the Globe and Mail, New York Times and National Geographic. His work is in both public and private collections. Willy’s life long love for the Niagara Escarpment and Bruce & Grey Counties has led to his commitment through his photography, to protect and interpret this special part of Canada for you to enjoy.

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